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– Maintain your memory by eating foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids such as blueberries, salmon, fruits and nuts (these foods help to keep your brain healthy).
– Don’t neglect your dental hygiene. Schedule a dentist appointment every six months or as often as your dentist recommends.
– Get an annual breast exam and do monthly breast self-exams to improve the chances of detecting cancer early.
– Get an annual pelvic exam and Pap smear. Detected early in their development, diseases such as cervical cancer are more treatable.
– If you smoke, quit. Not only is it bad for your lungs–studies show that those who smoke are more likely to develop wrinkled, leathery skin than nonsmokers. “As people age, you can tell if someone smokes just by looking at them,â€ says Dr. Grootwassink. “It increases virtually every disease, even cervical cancer.â€
– Always wear sunscreen, even in the winter months. Find one that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.
– Start lifting weights. Muscle loss is a natural biological process as we age, and strength training can restore muscle power, increase metabolism, and help keep weight and blood sugar in check.
– Get a standard physical every year. What’s your height? Weight? Do you have any suspicious moles that might signal skin cancer? What’s your blood iron level? How does your thyroid function? Is there a family history of heart disease? The American Heart Association believes that basic preventive health care services should be an integral part of a comprehensive health care plan.
Women in their 30s
Women in their 30s are able to have it all–an education, a satisfying career, travel adventures, long-term partnerships, and independence. They are hopeful and optimistic, and have more choices than their mothers did at the same age.
One of these choices includes waiting to get married and have children. The number of first-time moms in their 30s has more than tripled since 1975–which has both benefits and drawbacks. Benefits include financial stability, emotional maturity, relationship security, life experience, and higher levels of confidence and energy, all providing a great foundation for a family. The main drawback is an age-related decrease in fertility. Women over the age of 35 ovulate less frequently, making it harder to conceive than a 25-year-old.
“Most of the issues I see with women in this age group are reproductive in nature,â€ says Dr. Wesley Grootwassink of OBGYN West, an obstetrics and gynecology clinic with locations in Minnetonka and Eden Prairie.
Menstrual irregularities–caused by a number of conditions–can stand in the way of conception and should be treated early on, says Dr. Grootwassink. The longer these issues are ignored, the harder it can be to start a family.
Early and regular prenatal care is imperative for women who conceive in their mid-30s due to the unique risks posed with a pregnancy later in life, such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia (pregnancy induced high blood pressure), and vaginal bleeding. For baby, the risks are higher for placenta previa, placental abruption, low birth weight, premature birth, Down syndrome or other chromosomal defects.
Not only is her biological clock ticking, a woman in her 30’s will notice that her metabolism is slowing down–making it harder to burn off that cheeseburger than it was a few years ago. A woman’s metabolism slows by about five percent each decade, which means that at age 35, a woman burns about 75 fewer calories a day than she did at 25.
Another concern at this age is calcium intake. After age 30, a woman’s bones begin to lose calcium, which can lead to osteoporosis, a potentially debilitating bone disease. To avoid this, a woman’s diet should include plenty of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and iron.
While being 30-something is far from over-the-hill, women might start to see wrinkles around the eyes and mouth as skin cell renewal starts to slow down. Broken veins might show up as tiny red dots, and towards the end of the decade, age spots and sun spots may appear. Exfoliating and moisturizers can help restore skin to its youthful glow.
Men in their 30s
Men in their 30s are accepting the responsibilities that come with “growing up,â€ marriage, a career, a mortgage, and kids (or the possibility of kids). Going to the doctor–when not encouraged or physically dragged there–is not very likely for men in this age group. A serious sports injury might warrant a doctor’s visit, but men who ignore a lump or persistant pain are doing themselves a huge disservice by not having it checked out. As the saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.â€ Even if a man in his 30s is perfectly healthy, regular checkups with a general practitioner are encouraged in order to make sure he stays healthy. Regular checkups also give doctors a chance to catch and treat potential problems in the earliest stages.